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Monday, the GOP Convention's delegates irrevocably failed their first fundamental task, and they did it willfully, on Day One. They will not reveal a platform. They won't even write one for their internal guidance.

Making America Grate

That de riguer document is always the only indication voters have for what a party says their candidates will do if we hire them to run the country. Instead, this bizarre crop of unrecognizable new Trumpublicans has simplistically pledged their party to back whatever Trump wants to do. Which, from his record so far, is a disconnected series of transitory whims driven by seeking retribution.

It's not just that he is a simpleton, though that alone should scare the hell out of you.

A party with no guiding principles, no platform, has no precedent in America. Here, we are accustomed to every public servant taking an oath to a document and never to an individual. Upon assuming the presidency in the wake of Nixon's resignation, Gerald Ford reassured the nation, "Our Constitution works. Ours is a government of laws and not of men."

You have to look elsewhere to find regimes where people took an oath to support an individual who had no statement of what he intended to do, and no hint of constraints on his behavior. And it's not like you can get out your divining rod to anticipate his policy, on anything. Even if he were not arbitrary, capricious, volatile, vindictive, and prone to trademark Trumpertantrums, the fact that his team has no playbook—and no rulebook—is wholly inappropriate in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

At best, the Republicans are selling the prerecorded sounds of sizzle when they have no promise of obtaining, much less delivering, any steak.

No platform. No plan. And no accountability.

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At best, the Republicans are selling the prerecorded sounds of sizzle when they have no promise of obtaining, much less delivering, any steak. On top of that, with 30 million+ Americans unemployed, an additional million+ Americans filing new unemployment claims in each of the last 20 weeks; 30 million+ Americans facing imminent eviction from their homes due to inability to pay rent or mortgages, and 80,000+ small businesses—the largest and most diverse sector of the employment economy -- closed since March, and now throwing in the towel that they have no hope of ever reopening. Steak sounds more and more like a distant memory and a pipe dream from an unrecoverable past.

Not long ago, Republican Convention delegates held signs aloft proclaiming "Character Counts." They gushed with espousals of morality and condemnation of "situational ethics" that allowed you to rationalize anything. And they, the God-fearing Republicans, were morally superior. Because there are absolutes and those things derive without compromise from the very text of the Ten Commandments. And their opponents were tearing down this country by removing the Ten Commandments and manger scenes and the big lighted crosses from the courthouse lawns. Because you need the constraints of the written Word, and its literal text, with no vacillating interpretation, to avoid temptation and falling into the trap of The Deceiver. You need the written Word, the written rules of the road, as the rudder for your society and the anchor for your principles.

But now that same party is ruled by someone who doesn't value written words because he does not read. That same party flippantly dispensed with written rules for its own guidance and behavior to appease someone who likes to make it up as he goes, acting on unstudied whims, like advocacy for ingesting disinfectant and bleach.

Having no platform means no outline for how anything is prioritized or funded, from potholes to pandemics that kill more Americans than World War I, Pearl Harbor, and 9/11 combined.

When winter returns, the first wave of the tsunami of evictions will have hit America. A far larger number of homeless people than those sent wandering by the Great Depression will be competing for fewer functioning sidewalk grates. That's an existential concern for those who have nothing else. Those warm oases are highly coveted as the only places where some amount of heat emerges from hidden systems in adjacent buildings. At least, from those buildings where commerce still occurs. 

I wonder if the world, in seeing that unspeakable disgrace, will note that the ruler and his personally obedient party—who are equally devoid of accountability because they have no policy— have, in fact, made America grate.

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Larry Wines